Lakers News: Kobe Bryant’s Contract Extension Ensures Long-Term Title Contention

Kobe Bryant's two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers ensures that the storied franchise will remain in hot pursuit of the NBA crown for years to come.

The team confirmed the agreement via a press release on Monday. And's Ramona Shelburne adds that the two-year extension is worth roughly $48.5 million. 

While there will be ongoing debate as to whether signing Kobe, who is currently recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered last April, for that amount through the 2015-16 season is worth the risk, there's no denying that when at full strength the Black Mamba gives L.A. a chance to beat anyone.

Even at age 35, we're talking about one of the all-time great scorers capable of taking over a game and sinking big shots down the stretch. 

Before going down last spring, Bryant was averaging 27.3 points per game on 46 percent shooting from the floor. He was also averaging a career-high six assists per game in Mike D'Antoni's offense. 

Although the Lakers are off to a sluggish 7-7 start this season without Bryant, they are only two wins back of the fourth-place Clippers and there's a lot to like about L.A.'s current roster. Veteran 7-footer Pau Gasol is averaging a double-double following a disappointing 2012-13 campaign, and center Jordan Hill has become a factor on the glass and is a big reason why the Lakers rank seventh in the NBA in rebounding through the first month of the season.

Meanwhile, the man filling in for Kobe in the back court, Jodie Meeks is lighting it up, shooting nearly 52 percent from the floor overall and 47 percent from downtown. 

With players like Hill and Meeks gaining confidence in Kobe's absence, the potential for the future is much brighter than it seems at first. 

When he does return, Kobe's talent, experience and, above all, intensity are sure to set the...

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